West End church preparing to move to make way for FC Cincinnati stadium
WEST END, Ohio (WKRC) - The West End looks a lot different these days as buildings are being demolished and Stargel Stadium is being dismantled.
Several businesses relocated ahead of demolition, but one church remains: the Lighthouse Worship Center on Central Avenue. The church has been there since 1990 when it took over the building from the Allison Theater.
Pastor Patrick Winkler rebuilt the inside with his bare hands. The church will be moving soon with the help of FC Cincinnati, and Winkler can’t help but think about all the work and all the relationships built too.
"You don't put your heart into something 28 years and walk away without emotion in it, you know? So, there will be a couple of services where I'll have to grab my composure," said Winkler.
Winkler, a Chicago native, started his outreach in a rural area in Kentucky but quickly knew he was needed to be elsewhere.
"I wanted to be where the people were -- the hurting, the broken. I'd come down to the streets, seen the prostitution, the drugs, the need,” said Winkler.
Today, there are about 60 to 65 parishioners at the church. Winkler says they’re all ready for the next chapter in their journey, wherever the new church locates.
"The remodeling of people has been the most joyful, so it's bittersweet,” said Winkler. “I believe in the providence of God, so I have to believe in the timing of God in that so my season must be over here."
Winkler says he expects to stay at the current location until late January or early February. Right now, a location is being sought after in Fort Wright.